It feels wrong to say I’ve missed Captain Black Jack Randall. After all, he’s a despicable sadist who’s only brought pain and suffering into our heroes’ lives. But his appearance (or “resurrection,” as it were) at the French court put into stark relief just how insufficient the Comte St. Germain is as a villainous foil — he’s mostly just a stuck-up rich guy; the French equivalent of James Spader in a John Hughes movie. Plus, Tobias Menzies is just so damn fun to watch. So forgive me for saying, “Welcome Back, Jack.” But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
We pick up in the aftermath of last episode’s brawl, with Claire waiting for Jamie to return home after being arrested as part of the melee. The manner in which this portion of the Dragonfly in Amber source material manifested on-screen was a little curious to me. Producers have condensed time periods and narratives throughout this season (wisely in most cases), but this moment felt like it could have benefited from expansion. Where’s the tension and worry waiting for Jamie to be released? Given his past brushes with the law, it seems a missed opportunity to have him carted off and returned — thanks to a vouch from Duverney — in the span of, like, one minute of the show’s narrative.
After relaying the events of his release, Jamie explains to Claire how she earned those “La Dame Blanche” exclamations. You see, Jamie had spread the rumor that she was the mythological figure in order to explain why he wouldn’t indulge in prostitutes at Maison Elise. Claire’s initially angry, but the admission sparks a realization — it’s very likely the men who attacked Claire and Mary Hawkins frequent the whorehouse since they knew about this bit of gossip. And if Claire and Jamie can figure out their identities, perhaps they will lead them back to St. Germain. Murtagh later adds another clue to the investigation: The men are part of an aristocratic society that requires a maidenhead for entry. Yuck.
Claire pays a visit to Mary under the guise of giving her a medical exam. Mary says she hasn’t been allowed to go outside since the attack and is supposed to leave Paris as soon as she’s recovered. While grounded (because that’s what she is, really), Mary pens a letter to the Bastille, advocating for Alex’s release. She asks Claire to deliver it for her, and then wonders aloud if she might be pregnant. Claire doesn’t think so considering the rapist wasn’t able to, uh, finish. Another silver lining: Mary won’t have to marry the viscount now. Mary now has visions of marrying Alex, which won’t be happening either. Claire, knowing she has to protect the Jonathan Randall-Mary Hawkins ancestral line if Frank is ever to be born, convinces Alex that he is in too ill of health to take Mary as his bride: He’d only be a burden.
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